CH residents open homes to visiting artists
Cleveland Heights considers itself a home to the arts, and, when many out-of-town musicians and other artists are in the Cleveland area, they stay at the homes of Cleveland Heights residents.
“Cleveland Heights bills itself as ‘home for the arts’ because of the many arts organizations in our community,” said Mary Dunbar, Cleveland Heights council member. “But the city is also home to a great many artists, including visiting artists. Heights hospitality to musicians in town for a short term for performances is an essential contribution to some of our most innovative, regionally and even globally celebrated musical-arts organizations.”
Apollo’s Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, plays concerts all around Northeast Ohio. Only about half of its musicians live in the Cleveland area, and, according to Allison Richards, the organization’s artistic operations manager, there are about 25 households, most of them in Cleveland Heights, where the musicians stay when they are playing with the orchestra. “We rehearse at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Fairmount,” said Richards, who has lived in Cleveland Heights for the last three years. “So we like to keep the musicians close to there.”
ChamberFest Cleveland is another musical organization whose musicians stay at Cleveland Heights homes. “About 20 or 30 musicians come to Cleveland to take part in our festival,” said Mary Beth Karakul, who is on the ChamberFest advisory board. “So they need somewhere to stay when they are here.”
Karakul, who also lives in Cleveland Heights, has had musicians stay at her house several times. “It has been a wonderful experience,” she said. “We like it if they can stay in this area. That way they can walk to practice.” She added that it’s nice when someone can consider the musicians to be like family members.
CityMusic Cleveland is another musical organization whose out-of-town musicians frequently stay in Cleveland Heights. CityMusic performs free chamber-music concerts all around the Cleveland area.
Musicians are not the only people staying in Cleveland Heights when they are in the Cleveland area. An organization called Warm Showers helps people from all over the world go on extended bicycle rides. Gary and Deb Franke, who live in Cleveland Heights, recently hosted a high-school math teacher from Oxford, England. “Warm Showers is a network of people who bicycle,” Deb said. “You stay with someone, then other people stay with you. And there is no rent.”
She added that many people who live in Cleveland Heights host families, and that recently a couple bicycling with two young children for a year came through this area. “We have met people from Germany, England, Belgium and many other countries through this organization,” she said.
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley. He is on the board of FutureHeights, and is co-chair of the Heights Observer Advisory Committee.